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Rice Planting Festival

The Rice Plantation Festival in Pokhara is a mud filled fun fest for all! Ashare Ropahi, named after a month in the Nepali Calendar, Ashare and Ropahi, which means sow the rice in the land.

According to Samir Baral, representative from the Pokhara Tourism Council, the sponsoring organization,the Festival began 14 years ago to protect the Nepalese culture. “It started as the Day We Need to Touch the Mud,” he explained. “Our organization wanted to provide a day to play with mud and to also remind our citizens and visitors about the value of the Earth and the Soil.”

He continued, “The value of planting our most important crop, rice, must be valued and needs to be protected. We want to involve the youth in our traditional form of agriculture and pass down our knowledge to younger and future generations.” Residents around the area of the rice fields will prepare and sell fresh traditional dishes that are eaten during the hot summer months. These foods, like curd, beaten rice with sugar, roti and aachar are known to pull heat from the body.

The day’s activities include: a plowing competition with Ox, a running race through the rice paddies, a tug of war in the mud and a competition to see who can plant the most rice in a specified amount of time.

A large number of fish are released in the paddies and in the “Let’s Go Fish” competition, contestants scramble to catch the slippery, squirmy aquatic vertebrates with their bare hands. The winners get to take home their catch and cook it for dinner! Live Traditional Nepali folk music will be provided for the tourists to enjoyso they can share in this typically local style of entertainment. Singing competitions will take place between local women’s community groups.

Wear your old clothes and prepare to get wet and dirty on June 29! The Pokhara Tourism Council will provide free shuttle busses from their office near Dihikopatan, Lakeside-6, Pokhara. Busses leave at 8:00 am. For more information go to: www. Pokharatourism.org.np. Or call 061-462489 or 061-462466. You can also email – tourismpokhara@gmail.com or info@pokharatourism.org.np